This study had as aims to evaluate the effects of successive exposures to Mentha piperita L. essential oil (MPEO) on culturability and physiological functions of Salmonella Typhimurium PT4. S. Typhimurium PT4 cells (10 8 log CFU/mL) were exposed to the same (1.25 μL/mL) or increasing MPEO concentrations (1.25–80 μL/mL) during 252 h. At each 36-h interval, the viable cell counts, and distinct cell functions were assessed using plate counting and flow cytometry, respectively. As the exposure time to the same MPEO concentration increased, the population of S. Typhimurium PT4 cells with damaged, permeabilized and depolarized membrane, and compromised efflux activity decreased. Otherwise, S. Typhimurium PT4 cells with damaged membrane physiological functions increased over the exposure to increasing concentrations of MPEO. Genomic analyses showed that the strain carries 17 genes associated with stress responses and the persistence of the tested strain among sources associated with poultry spanning more than 16 years and its virulence for humans. Therefore, successive exposure to a sublethal concentration of MPEO induced S. Typhimurium PT4 cells capable of maintaining the membrane integrity and its functions despite their non-culturable state.
- Cell injury
- Non thermal processes